Who do you go to with questions on your career? Or when your PCR isn’t working? How about when you have a conflict with a coworker? Although it may be easier to approach your dissertation mentor or an appointed advisor to get clarity on these questions, why not consider going to an expert or another mentor? Oftentimes, we think our dissertation advisor is our only mentor and go to them for every question or problem. However, having multiple mentors can bring you so many benefits.
Here are five reasons why having multiple mentors helps you in your career, research, and life.
Gain Advice on Different Parts of Your Life:
As an entire person who has multiple facets to life – like your career, research, extracurricular activities, and family, not to mention identifying factors like race, ethnicity, gender, etc. and how it ties into what you do, having one mentor isn’t sufficient or practical. More importantly, a mentor who is an expert at conducting research may not be the best at helping you pursue a career. So seeking out multiple mentors that meet the needs of the different areas in your life helps you holistically.
Acquire Deep Knowledge in Your Field/Skills:
Each mentor has different sets of skills and experiences that can help you based on what you need. For example, a mentor who is an expert at writing and acquiring grants may not be the best at managing a lab. Apart from the expertise level, multiple mentors can provide you a breath of solutions or advice for a particular problem. This is especially helpful when you need advice on a practice that has changed and is different from what a senior mentor experienced.
More Accessibility to Mentors:
Generally speaking, even though you will be doing the work, it is best practice to give ample time for mentors to respond to requests. Also, not all mentors will be available every time you need advice so having multiple mentors that you can reach out to receive advice will be helpful to you. This is especially critical when you are short on time and need an immediate response like whether to take a job offer or how to negotiate for higher pay.
Expand Your Network:
With access to so many mentors, you are expanding your network. These same mentors may know of more people to connect with, which grows your networking circle. Furthermore, some of these mentors can become friends or colleagues as you move onto other opportunities.
Increase Awareness of New Opportunities:
ASM offers a membership directory to ASM members to find mentors and broaden your network. To get started, sign in and create your profile. If you are not a member and want access to the ASM directory, join here.